Health Clubs: Pretty Darn Dangerous Five potential pitfalls lurking at the gym By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Dec 26, 2010 10:06 AM CST 12 comments Comments This is more dangerous than it looks. (Shutter Stock) (Newser) – So it’s almost 2011 and you’re determined to put that gym membership to good use. That’s great, but what about all the hidden dangers lurking in health clubs? The Washington Post offers some tips for how to protect yourself from… Skin infections: These can be spread through shared equipment, and you’re especially vulnerable if you have a cut or scrape. Use alcohol spray or wipes to clean off equipment, and put a towel over any mat you’re going to use. Dirty pools: Bacteria and viruses can thrive and spread illness, so if it looks cloudy or smells like chemicals, don’t use it. You can also ask employees about the pool’s most recent inspection score. Strained muscles: Make sure to warm up by jogging or doing calisthenics before using weight-room equipment. Not sure how much weight to use? It should be at a level that allows you to do 15 slow repetitions. Click for the complete list, or for tips on how to make your workout more effective.